Ashwin spins magic, India roar back to level series 1-1

Last Updated 24 August 2015, 07:19 IST
Ravichandran Ashwin today produced another magical spell to scalp five wickets as India notched up a series-levelling 278-run victory in the second cricket Test against Sri Lanka, denying the legendary Kumar Sangakkara a fairytale farewell from the game.

Set a daunting target of 413, the islanders caved in rather tamely to bundled out for a meagre 134 in 43.4 overs shortly after lunch break to allow the Indians to restore parity in the three-match series.

Wily off-spinner Ashwin again  did the bulk of the damage with superb figures of 5 for 42 as the Lankans capitulated spectacularly to give Virat Kohli his first Test win as captain with almost two full sessions to spare.

It was a commendable show by the Indians, who dominated the match right from the first day and made amends for their shock defeat in the first Test in Galle where they lost despite being the driver's seat for most part of the game.

It was a disappointing end to Sangakkara's stellar career as he not only failed with the bat in both the innings but had to deal with the added misery of seeing his team go down with embarrassing ease.

Nobody expected the game to end so quickly as Sri Lanka lost 7 wickets for 58 runs at lunch break, which was taken early owing to a rain interruption.

Leg-spinner Amit Mishra trapped last man standing Dushmantha Chameera (4) to seal the issue triggering off scenes of celebration in the Indian dressing room while the players hugged each other on the field.

India took five deliveries after lunch to wrap up the proceedings  and bring themselves back in the series.

Apart from Ashwin's mesmerising bowling effort, leg- spinner Amit Mishra chipped in with 3 wickets for 29 runs, while the pace duo of Ishant Sharma and Umesh Yadav claimed a wicket apiece.

For the home team, opener Dimuth Karunaratne provided a semblance of resistance with a gritty 46-run knock, which came off 103 balls. None of the other top-order batsmen could hang around for long, making the job easier for the rampaging Indians.

The two teams will now face off for the series-decider from August 28 at the Sinhalese Sports Club here.  Sri Lanka's day got off to the worst start possible as they lost a wicket off the first ball of the morning. Starting at their overnight score of 72/2, skipper Angelo Mathews (23) was caught behind off Umesh Yadav (1-18) in the 22nd over and almost immediately the slide began for the hosts.

Ishant Sharma (1-41) opened the bowling from the other end, but the spinners got into their act soon after. Amit Mishra first bowled Dinesh Chandimal (15) with a wonder-ball around his legs in the 28th over.

The hosts somehow managed to cross the 100-mark in the 30th over and were placed at 106/4 after the first hour's play. The collapse came thereafter as Ashwin started getting great purchase from the fifth day pitch. He struck off the sixth ball after the mini-break, removing Lahiru Thirimanne (11), who was caught at silly point by substitute fielder Cheteshwar Pujara.

In the very next over, the 36th bowled by Ishant, Jehan Mubarak (0) edged the first ball he faced to second slip which India skipper Virat Kohli gleefully accepted. In the 37th over then, Dhammika Prasad (0) stepped out of the crease and mishit one high off Ashwin, holing out to Mishra at midwicket.

Two overs later, Ashwin had his second five-wicket haul of this series when he bowled opener Dimuth Karunaratne (46 runs, 103 balls, 6 fours).

Three overs went by without a wicket as dark clouds started hovering above the ground, bringing the possibility of thundershowers as per predictions.

With 14 minutes to go for lunch, Mishra removed Tharindu Kaushal (5), trapping him LBW. But thereafter a sudden rain shower stopped play, forcing the umpires to call for an early lunch.
(Published 24 August 2015, 07:16 IST)

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